Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region of France and located in the Moselle departement that borders Luxembourg and Germany.


Portal of the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Metz

Due to its German heritage and military tradition, Metz has yet to earn much respect in the eyes of the French. Most of the criticism about Metz is clichéd and unwarranted; in fact, Strasbourg has stronger German heritage yet has been overwhelmingly embraced by the French and visitors alike. Metz was the birthplace of the Carolingian Dynasty before becoming the capital of the burgeoning Kingdom of Lotharingia (855-958AD); then it was the capital of the Duchy of Upper Lorraine (959-1233) before finally breaking away to form an independent city state during the high Middle Ages (1234-1552AD). As such, Metz was one of the most powerful cities in feudal Europe and this rich cultural history can still be seen today, particularly in its grand Cathedral and its beautiful old town built using the "pierre de Jaumont", a local yellow colored limestone.


Even though Metz is close to Luxembourg and Germany, locals are not fluent in German and speak French just as in any other French city. The local dialect (Platt) is spoken in some parts of northern and eastern Moselle but has never been spoken in Metz.

Get in

Metz lies along the A31, north of Nancy and south of Luxembourg. From Paris or Strasbourg, take the A4 to the A31; Metz is just to the south.

There is a small regional airport for Metz and Nancy (code: ETZ), located southeast of Metz. This mainly handles commercial traffic, but there are passenger flights to/from Paris, Lyon, Algiers, and several Italian destinations.

A shuttle bus is also available from Frankfurt-Hahn airport.

Metz is also reachable by train (including TGV), with connections to/from Paris, Luxembourg, and Strasbourg. The train station is at the southern edge of the city center. You should note that if you have a eurail pass you will probably not be able to leave for a few weeks (you must make reservations way in advance).

Get around

The Pont Moyen, with the Temple Neuf behind it to the right of the photo

By car

Driving in the centre of town is not recommended. Park in one of the parking areas (well-marked from the main roads in) and walk or use public transport.

Be aware of immigrant beggars in parking areas offering to watch your car and approaching you at ticket machines when your wallet is in your hand. Local police refuse to prevent this activity even though they accept it is illegal and keeps visitors away.

On foot

Everything in the city centre is easily accessible on foot, and much of the main downtown/shopping area is pedestrianised. Be warned, though, that there are a few hills!

By bicycle



Museums and galleries

The former Metz Arsenal, now an arts centre


The Metz Theatre




Stay safe

Metz is quite a safe town. Even so, it might be a good idea to avoid suburbs like Borny or St Eloy, and the old town's small alleys by night.

In the centre, some people are likely to ask you to give them some money or a cigarette. Feel free to say no.

Don't walk from Lafayette to Resam (Résidence Arts & Métiers de Metz-Technopôle) late at night.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.